The University of Florida announced Friday it has shuttered its diversity office, becoming the latest and most prominent state school to comply with recently adopted state policy.

The policy is based on a new law that took effect last year, banning universities from spending on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

The university said it shut down its Office of the Chief Diversity Officer. It also eliminated diversity, equity and inclusion positions and administrative appointments and “halted DEI-focused contracts with outside vendors.”

According to a memo, the $5 million in funds being spent on diversity efforts will be reallocated for faculty recruitment.

“The University of Florida is — and will always be — unwavering in our commitment to universal human dignity,” the memo said. “As we educate students by thoughtfully engaging a wide range of ideas and views, we will continue to foster a community of trust and respect for every member of the Gator Nation. The University of Florida is an elite institution because of our incredible faculty who are committed to teaching, discovering, and serving.”

The university hired its first chief diversity officer in 2018. At the time, former president Kent Fuchs said the position was created because “UF, like many other Southern universities, has a legacy that includes not always welcoming people of diverse backgrounds.”

The top diversity officer served as a member of the president’s cabinet and as a senior advisor. The office was involved in creating a three-year strategic plan for inclusive excellence and launching mentoring programs for underrepresented students.

It was also involved in celebrating heritage months. Last month, a news release from the state Board of Governors touted campus efforts to commemorate Black History Month, which ended Thursday. It linked to UF’s Office of Chief Diversity officer’s website, among other schools. The board oversees the state’s 12 public universities.

It was unclear Friday how many of those schools have taken action similar to what UF announced.

The University of South Florida paused its search for a new chief diversity officer last year amid uncertainty around the new state laws that gave rise to the changes in policy. This week, a USF spokesperson said there had been no change in the status of the position. The school was asked if that meant the search was permanently halted. It has not responded.

The University of Central Florida’s diversity web page was not working Friday.

New College of Florida in Sarasota eliminated its diversity office in February 2023 in one of the board of trustees’ first actions after Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed six noted conservatives to that board.

Higher education reporter for The Tampa Bay Times in partnership with Open Campus.